The federal government has granted Nigerian citizenship to 286 foreign nationals, Minister of Interior, Mr Rauf Aregbesola, has said.
The minister said this while briefing State House Correspondents at the end of the weekly Federal Executive Council (FEC) meeting in Abuja Wednesday.
He said the 286 foreign nationals were granted citizenship out of 600 applications it received, stressing that 208 of those approved were granted citizenship by naturalization while 78 others were granted citizenship by registration.
“The Ministry of Interior through me presented the Advisory Committee on Nigeria citizenship approval to the Council today. And is the first set by the end of this first quarter or latest by the middle of the year another set will be presented to council.
“But what is it about? We received 600 applications from several people, foreign nationals who have been residing in Nigeria, but desirous of being Nigerians.
“These applicants are from virtually every part of the world. Americans, North and South Korean, Australians, Europeans, Arabs, Asians, all over of the South Africans. Out of the 600 applicants, the Advisory committee approved for the consideration of the council 280.
“Before the presentation, let me say, some agents of government scrutinized these applicants. The Agencies are the department of State security, the foreign affairs ministry, the Nigeria immigration service, and the state of domicile of those individuals,” he said.
Also speaking, Minister of Information and Culture, Mr Lai Mohammed, described the decision as groundbreaking, especially at a time when some Nigerians say the country is unfit to live in.
“It’s a groundbreaking memo as it will tell you because just as some people think Nigeria is not a fit and proper place to live, we have thousands of people who are applying daily all over the world from virtually every continent to be citizens of Nigeria; I think that is very instructive,” he said.